The procedure for entering values is identical to the procedure for entering labels. After you select the cell in which you want to enter the value, simply begin typing. As with labels, the values you type appear both in the cell and in the Formula bar.
Excel treats numbers and text differently. For one, values are aligned automatically with the right edge of the cell. Values are displayed in Excel's General number format. However, you can always change or customize the alignment appearance and formatting of numbers in the worksheet. If a value is too wide to fit in the current width of a cell, Excel displays a series of # characters , as shown in Figure 43.9, across the width of the cell to let you know that the number cannot be displayed. You need to adjust the width of the cell to display the number properly.
Figure 43.9. The number signs indicate that the number is wider than the column.
Values can begin with the following characters:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 + - . ( , $ %
You can also type fractions. However, if the syntax for fractions is not correct, Excel misinterprets what you're trying to enter.
To enter a fraction, type the number, a blank space, and then the fraction, such as 4 1/2 . If you want to enter only the fractional portion, type a , a blank space, and then the fraction, similar to 0 1/2 .
Treating Numbers Like Text
Excel evaluates each of your entries and determines whether the entry is a value or label. A mixed cell entry that contains both values and text is automatically treated like a label. For example, an address like 1750 Clint Moore Road is treated like a label. A mixed cell entry cannot be used as part of a calculation.
You can also enter numbers in a cell and have Excel treat the entry as a label. You might want to consider telephone numbers, ZIP codes, and invoice numbers as labels instead of values. Whenever you want Excel to treat a numeric cell entry as a text, preface the entry with a single quotation mark ( ' ). The quotation mark is not visible in the cell, although you can see it on the Formula bar, as shown in Figure 43.10.
Figure 43.10. The single quotation mark tells Excel to treat the entry as a label.